Saturday, 5 April 2014

Brindled Ochre


2229 Brindled Ochre Dasypolia templi (Thunberg, 1792)

 This once common resident was found in 1883 around the new gass lamps and 100 + at gas lamps in Halifax in 1897.Was said to still occour up until the early 1960’s but no records since this date. Collinsonn wrote in 1963 the following article..-

The Yorkshire list states that nowadays this species is rarely recorded except on the East coast. Fortunately it does still occur in our Parish, though rarely. I have recorded three in recent years. It was once a feature of the Halifax Parish and collectors came from far afield to obtain it. There is a rather amusing story told in this respect. The Brindled Ochre emerges from the pupa in autumn. After some flight it seeks out a suitable place for hibernation until the Sallows are in bloom the following spring, at which time it reappears to carry on the species. A very suitable place for hibernation, and perhaps a reason why it so favoured our area, was between the stones of our drystone walls. A party of Lancastrian naturalists, apparently aware of this fact, crossed the border and were busily engaged taking down a wall in search of hibernating Brindled Ochres when the irate farmer appeared. He was unmoved by their pleas of scientific research and in due course they received fines from the local magistrate. The case caused quite a stir in more than naturalist circles and at least one national newspaper carried the headlines "The Case of the Butterfly Hunters." Unfortunately since those days the species has greatly declined. It is probable that this is one of the few species which we can definitely say has been reduced in numbers by the coming of modern street lighting.

Our old records read as follows:-

1883 Abundant round the new gas lamps. 1897 Over 100 at the gas lamps in Halifax.

These entries tell a sad story. It was interesting in 1946, whilst Sallowing (searching the flowering sallows for Spring specimens) with Stanley Sunderland, to have one of these moths actually settle on me. It proved to be a female and laid some eggs. The resulting larvae became the subject of one of a series of articles.
 The Brindled Ochre has not been recorded since 1963/4 in our area and has become very rare in VC63.We have looked for this species for the last 10 years and believed that there must be a small population still surviving in Calderdale and this record proves that...well chuffed...Martyn ,Andy and Bri


8 comments:

martynbirder said...

brilliant and you were spot on with the id Andy, great stuff

AndyC said...

First record for VC63 since 1978.

AndyC said...

Another reported last night from Wharfdale,,,thanks Charlie Fletcher

charlie streets said...

Well done Andy, what a find! A fascinating history for this species and even more so now you're part of it.

AndyC said...

Brian let it go after a couple of photos on a large patch of Hogweed, where it will hopefully lay its eggs........

Winston said...

excellent info and a great find gentlemen.

charlie streets said...

Running a light is a double-edged sword; on the one hand you wouldn't have recorded this species in the first place but on the other, with singletons, you've no idea how far they've travelled from their breeding grounds.

Hopefully this will be the first of others to show up.

AndyC said...

I reckon most (99%) of the moths we have recorded at light at the crags have come less than half a mile. The other 1 % have come off the moors...I don't think we have had any migrants yet.??